This is a fantastic French film about compassion, courage and sacrifice. The movie tells the story of Sandra (Marion Cotillard) a depressed factory worker. Sandra and her husband are a working-class couple with children. She suffers from depression and pops Xanax as if they were breath mints. She’s fragile and seemingly at the end of her rope. When Sandra returns to work after a medical leave she learns that her co-workers have voted to do away with her position and in turn they will receive a 1000-euro bonus. The initial vote may or may not have involved threats, so the boss is allowing another vote to be taken after the weekend. That gives Sandra two days and one night to convince a majority of her 16 co-workers to give up their bonus and save her job. What would you do?
The film is made up of the encounters between Sandra and the other employees. Every time she knocks on a door, the suspense builds – will she have enough votes? Marion Cotillard proves again that she is an exceptional talent which is why Two Days, One Night is so good. With no makeup, slumping posture and black circles under her eyes she is utterly believable as a beaten-down woman fighting for her job and family’s survival. We feel each of her disappointments and humiliations and we celebrate each of her triumphs.
This movie, by writers/directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, doesn’t have a tidy ending. Half the audience began to laugh in confusion because they couldn’t believe how the film ended. Vive les cinéastes français. LAR
Running time: 95 minutes